Actor-director-artist James Franco and musician-artist Tim O’Keefe announced plans to release their first musical collaboration under the name Daddy today. The duo’s debut EP, MotorCity, will be out September 25th and features guest vocals by Motown legend Smokey Robinson.
Written and recorded while Franco was based in Detroit for the filming of “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” MotorCity draws on and recontextualizes the sounds of the past while providing a dynamic character study of this critical moment in 20th century American music.
Pulling from the classic sounds of Motown, the EP tips its hat to this influential music legacy. MotorCity pays tribute to the ballads, funk, soul, and heartfelt themes of love and loss that were ever-present in the music of that time.
Robinson’s involvement with Daddy’s debut release was like a thread that went from beginning to end, binding everything together. While driving in a car listening to Robinson’s classic song “Cruisin'”, Franco and O’Keefe first discussed forming Daddy. Call it coincidence or fate, but Franco would soon find himself on the same flight as the Motown legend, and this chance meeting led to Daddy asking Robinson to contribute to MotorCity. Robinson graces Daddy’s debut with his vocal magic on the original and <tfo> remix versions of the song “Crime.”
The motivation behind Daddy is to push beyond the sonic space of music into the surrounding ecology. Daddy investigates the territories of film/video, installation, and performance while simultaneously exploring the connections that form between them.
While sampling has been an established and prevalent method of modern music making, Daddy’s approach moves beyond the ‘art of sampling’ into the act of appropriation. Not just appropriating a genre of music, but the moments it inhabits, and the characters that embody it.
Like many bands before them, Franco and O’Keefe met as students in art school. They both graduated from RISD in May 2012. While in school, they collaborated on many projects including Franco’s 2011 “Endless Idaho” installation at the Gagosian Gallery in L.A. before forming Daddy in late 2011.
Drawing from the individual practices of both Franco and O’Keefe, Daddy brings together the interests and talents of these two artists. Franco continues his exploration of identity. Through appropriating and recontextualizing material from his work as an actor, director, and individual, he questions the existing boundaries between. O’Keefe, the musician behind <tfo>, brings to Daddy his imaginative sense of sound and play, creating evocative arrangements that merge together the assumed separations between time, space, and cultures.